For lack of a better place, I am sticking this in my OCD category, but I’m not entirely sure it’s OCD-related.
As a kid, I used to lay awake nights wondering — ruminating over — why am I me instead of someone else? Why do I look like I do? Why has genetics conspired just so to create me instead of someone else? All of which leads to the big question: why am I here?
The odds against anyone of us actually getting to the point of being here are pretty astronomical. I would think about that and it would really freak me out.
I was driving down Mount Vernon Hwy. today after having been unsuccessful at finding the SAT testing site where I needed to fill out my I-9 so I can grade SAT essays all locked up. All of a sudden, I wondered why in the hell I was me, and why I looked like I do. I mean, when I am talking to someone, I am not really conscious of how I look. I don’t think about it much. But they associate my appearance with me. It is an integral part of who I am. It’s how they identify I am me instead of someone else. But not me. I don’t identify myself by my appearance. I identify others by theirs. And then I thought how unfair that it is we are judged by our appearances. I mean, I am stuck with gray hair, skinny arms and legs, and glasses. Sure, I could dye my hair, but then I’d have to keep doing it. I’m not sure if there is anything I can do about my arms and legs. I guess I could wear contacts. I have no problems with that. But ultimately, you still look how you look. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any major problems with my appearance. I really don’t. The grande caramel Frappuccinos are going to my waist, hips, and thighs, but that’s the price you pay for sucking down fat-laden beverages on a near daily basis (430 calories per drink, 140 calories from fat — oy vey). Of course, I’m convinced they’re laced with pure crack, or I wouldn’t have to have one all the time.
So. Back on task, Ms. Huff.
What I was saying before I digressed over the frozen coffee is that I was driving down the road and the childhood thought about my identity resurfaced. It was like I suddenly popped out of my body, looked at me, and realized I was in that body, and it didn’t seem connected to me at all. It occurred to me that my body wasn’t part of me. I also recall thinking I am always looking out of my eyes, and I don’t see things in any way except mine — not really. So it’s kind of hard to look in the mirror and connect that person with me. I can’t explain this very well, but it was jarring. I really did kind of freak out.
I shouldn’t freaking read The Catcher in the Rye anymore. Holden Caulfield is not someone with whom I’d like to identify.